Published2010 by Cambridge University Press
The period covered takes in the seven early Stuart Parliaments and has been intensively scrutinized by historians interested in tracing the causes of the English Civil War. It was marked by conflict with the Commons over the exercise of the royal prerogative and a growing, well-founded conviction that the future existence of Parliaments was under threat. Among the most notable parliamentary occurrences were the Union debates of 1604-7, the abortive Great Contract (1610), the revival of impeachment (from 1621), the attacks on the king's chief minister the duke of Buckingham (1625-28), and the formulation of the Petition of Right (1628). Many important and middle-ranking parliamentary figures of the 1640s, such as John Pym, Oliver Cromwell, Sir Gilbert Gerard and Sir Henry Mildmay served their political apprenticeships at Westminster during the 1620s; but the real Parliamentary giants of the period were men like the distinguished lawyer Sir Edward Coke, the free trade enthusiast and Virginia Company spokesman Sir Edwin Sandys, and such champions of 'country' causes as Edward Alford and Sir Thomas Wentworth, later earl of Strafford.
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